While several people have done their best to remember and honor former Penn State coach Joe Paterno, who passed away Jan. 22 after a short battle with lung cancer, one young man has decided to honor Paterno by embodying the same philanthropic spirit that made Paterno the most beloved man on the Penn State campus.
Dylan Moser, a 12-year-old, who is currently in remission after first being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia before his third birthday, decided to donate all of the money he received for his 12th birthday to THON, a Penn State student-run dance marathon that raises funds and awareness to help fight pediatric cancer.
Moser gave $95 to his mother, and his 16-year-old sister, Natasha, also chipped in, and the Moser children donated $185 to THON.
So, why THON? Because it helped provide emotional and financial assistance to the Moser Family while Moser was fighting cancer. Moser has participated in THON eight times and when THON weekend comes Feb. 17-19, he'll be in the talent show.
THON has always held a special place for the Paterno family. Paterno spoke at THON in 2009 (see video above) and told the group that he'd been at Penn State 58 years and had, "never been more proud than right now."
Paterno's son, Scott, tweeted Saturday that he had had dinner with a THON beneficiary and noted that the students participating in the event were living out Paterno's mantra of "Make an impact."
Moser told The Daily Collegian his favorite part of THON is at the end when the sum of all of the donations are revealed and this year it will hold a special place in his heart because of his pledge on behalf of Paterno.
"It shows the true Penn State," Moser said. "It shows that we really do care about kids with cancer."
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